Paula Hawkins's recommendation for the Bustle Book Club this month — a psychological suspense novel from award-winning author Flynn Berry — is the kind of read that I find impossible to put down. Brimming with mystery and rife with danger, A Double Lifehooked me from the very beginning, but it wasn't just the puzzling plot that kept me turning the pages. It was also Berry's gorgeous writing, which is on full display in these quotes from A Double Life.
A Double Life is a crime novel, based on real people and events, about the daughter of England's most notorious murder suspect and her tireless attempt to uncover the truth about her family's past. It has within it everything that makes crime novels so addicting: A fascinating mystery, a questionable narrator, a sense of danger lurking around every corner.
But what makes A Double Life stand out from its read-alikes is Flynn's brilliant writing. The author, whose debut Under the Harrowwon the 2017 Edgar Award for Best First Novel, perfectly captures the fear, the pain, and the paranoia of her main character through precise prose and affecting storytelling.
If you haven't started Berry's novel yet, don't worry, there is plenty of time to read the February selection with the Bustle Book Club. But just in case you need a little more convincing, these 11 quotes from A Double Life capture just how intriguing and beautifully written this unique story of suspense really is. What are you waiting for?
“It’s difficult for me to think of that visit. Not because I could’ve stopped him, exactly. I was 8 years old. But the scene seems grotesque. The little girl, accepting a stick of red-and-white candy from him. It’s like he made me complicit.”
"Now everything seems like a warning, but you could do this for anyone. Pick out a few odd interests, a few bad days, and build a theory around it. You could do it for me. You could consider the fact that I haven't moved on as proof of something wrong with me. "
"I can't hold my hands steady. I was too frightened to close my eyes in the shower this morning, which hasn't happened in years. I have to remember to swallow, and when I do the sound startles me. I don't know why this is happening. I'm not in any danger. But I've already dropped and broken two cups, and while I was on my knees, gathering the shards and mopping the liquid, I had to check that there wasn't a man behind me, ready to shove me back down if I tried to stand up."
"Robbie looks like our father. Sometimes I wonder if that's why he mistreats himself. It's the only act of revenge he can take."
"I wonder if the newspapers will learn about the sighting, and the thought exhausts me. Their ghoulishness, their relentless delight in the story. It was domestic violence. There was nothing uncommon about it, nothing mysterious, except for his incompetence. A woman is murdered by her partner two times every week in this country. Eight a month, more than a hundred a year. No one would have cared about my father, no one would know his name, if he hadn't had money."
“I want to crawl out of my skin with the shame of this. A better person would forgive him. A different sort of better person would have found him years ago.”
"This shouldn't still consume me, but it never goes away. It's like living in a country where there's been a war. Sometimes you forget; sometimes, on a normal road, in daylight, you're too frightened to breathe; sometimes you're furious that it's fallen to you now to understand what happened, to put it to rights."
“I don't answer. I don't run or start screaming, because doing either would be like giving a signal for it to start. And because part of me is expectant, like I'm about to learn the answer to a question.”
"The trouble is Robbie doesn't want to go. I wish I could do it for him. I'd do the unpleasant part, the purge, every hour for a year if it would help him. It's not fair, that he has this and I don't. I'm seven years older than my brother. Maybe that's why I'm doing better than he is now, like being loved by Mum was an incubator that was switched off too early for him."
"I need to know who he's been pretending to be, how he spends his time, if he's as happy as he seems. Though it's more than that. I need to know who he is. A good man who did a bad thing. A bad man who's done more bad things."
"There's a relief in knowing the truth — a completion, a block finally dropping into place — but I'm also so stricken it hurts to breathe, and weeping, my face hot, my hands clutching my stomach. I'd thought there might still be a way out of this. A notch in the circle through which all of us, even him, could escape."